Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Humble Hampton

Ruthie Braunstein/The Hoya The Hoyas will get to perform their pre-game ritual dance at least one more time this season, as they advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 76-57 win over Hampton. BOISE, Idaho, Mar. 17 – Last week, Georgetown’s men’s basketball team was one of the last teams to receive an at-large bid to the Big Dance with the No. 10 seed in the West Divison. This week, the Hoyas are a Sweet 16 team at the expense of the biggest Cinderella story of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Georgetown’s 76-57 victory over 15th-seeded Hampton in the tournament’s second round on Saturday gives the Hoyas their first regional semifinal berth since 1996.

And in case the West Region didn’t have enough drama with all the upsets and close calls of the first round, there’s more excitement ahead. In Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday, Georgetown (25-7) will square off against local rival Maryland for the first time since 1994. The Terps held off the Georgia State Panthers 79-60 to earn their spot in the Sweet 16. The Hoyas will advance to the regional semifinal for the first time since 1996.

Playing the 15th-seeded Hampton didn’t make Georgetown’s road to Anaheim any easier. Hampton (25-7), the darling of the tournament after it upset No. 2 seed Iowa State in the first round on Thursday, gave Georgetown a challenging first half. Meanwhile, the sold-out crowd at Boise State Pavilion was nearly deafening in its support for the underdog Pirates.

“I think we have our best game when we have the crowd rooting against us,” said senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, who tallied eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

The early minutes of the game saw Georgetown and Hampton struggle for offensive control. After the Hoyas took an early 12-6 lead, the Pirates’ duo of center Tarvis Williams and guard arseilles Brown, which anchored the Hampton win over Iowa State, took command offensively and tied the game at 16. But a layup by Boumtje-Boumtje with eight minutes and 45 seconds gave Georgetown a 20-18 edge. The rest of the half was a 22-4 romp for the Hoyas as they took a commanding 42-22 lead going into the break.

In the second half, the Pirates struggled against the dominating interior presence of the Hoya bigmen and Georgetown took a strong lead. Hampton never managed to shrink the Hoyas’ lead below 15 and Georgetown managed to control the boards, gaining a 51-27 rebounding advantage over Hampton. The Hoyas shot 33 of 75, including 40 points in the paint that gave Georgetown the offensive edge.

Though it was marked by strong interior offense, the Hoyas’ second half performance was marred by foul trouble. Georgetown amassed 15 fouls in the second half and freshman forward ike Sweetney received his fifth foul after disputing the official’s call with 16:43 still to play.

“That’s so totally uncharacteristic of Mike to lose his temper,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said. “Sometimes I wonder if he has a temper.”

Esherick gave much of the credit for the win to the upperclassmen on the team – seniors Boumtje-Boumtje, Lee Scruggs, Anthony Perry, Nathaniel Burton and junior guard Kevin Braswell.

“All five of them played like upperclassmen are supposed to play,” he said.

The Hoyas’ victories in this year’s tournament are the crowning achievement for the seniors and juniors who have had to settle for spots in the National Invitation Tournament for the past three years.

“Every college player that becomes a senior is looking forward to having season like this, to be able to play in the Sweet 16,” Perry said. “I’ve been watching for the past three years and we’ve been losing. And now that we’re [at the NCAA Tournament], I’m just fortunate to be able to play in it.”

Braswell led the Hoyas with a 15-point, 8-rebound effort while Burton continued to shine in the postseason. After his game-winning lay-up finished off Arkansas, Burton put up 13 points and pulled down five rebounds in the second round.

Georgetown will face a difficult contest in Maryland, a team that matches the Hoyas in size, depth and athleticism. The rivalry is compounded by the unique friendship of Braswell and Maryland guard Juan Dixon. The two have played together since middle school and Dixon has lived with Braswell and his family for extensive amounts of time.

The No. 3-seeded Terrapins have had a roller-coaster season but are playing now for their most elusive goal yet – a Final Four berth. Despite playing in nine regional semi-finals, the Terps have yet to make it to the Final Four.

With the rivalry between the two schools and the similar strengths, Maryland will pose Georgetown’s most challenging postseason match-up to date. The two teams will square off at 7:55 p.m. Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

Related Links

 Box Score vs. Hampton (Second Round)

 Printable Bracket

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